Monday, 27 April 2009 12:53 AM

Kwaio Compensation Claim and Colonial Error

Dear Editor.

The subject is such an interesting one and its great that we share our views. One thing for sure is that the Gweeabe massacre is not the only incident that happened under the British government in the Solomons that many of us thought was wrong. Perhaps all of us have a story to tell about the dark sides of colonialism. And some of us will remain victims of certain actions that happened under the then British administrations. The killing spree that happened at Gweeabe, indigenous people killed in the Second World War, the displacement of native people by other ethnic groups as done by the protectorate administration were amongst many genuine issues that we could consider in the spotlight of justice and morality especially when we scrutinise the ethics of colonialism.

Such dark sides need to be exposed if we want to promote pure justice. And am inclined to share the view that some of these wrongs that are way over due still should be put right. But the difficulty for us today when we talk about the Gweeabe massacre in particular would be to try and find somebody on whom the responsibility over the killing should be laid. Those who directly involved in the massacre and those who authorised it are not with us anymore. They are not even living today. This may sound quite lame for some people, but such a straight forward logic is relevant when it comes to colonial redress.

I am sceptical about the prospect of any attempt by our government to negotiate the matter with the British government at the moment (if that is what the Kwaio council of chiefs are hoping our government would achieve). Because one thing for sure is, when it comes to reassessing the past, the colonial mess in particular, the successive generations of the ex-colonial nations often take the view that they are not responsible for those sub-genocides, injustices that their predecessors have done. And this reasonably makes sense.

Its bizarre to try and get somebody who does no wrong to shoulder somebody elses' crimes. And its not sensible for the SI government who as well sympathise with our people over the Gweeabe massacre and some other colonial injustices to try and sort them out in the manner which the Kwaio chiefs are hoping for on behalf of the colonisers. And for the government to give in to the compensation claim would only be wrong. Or I must have failed to realise the logic behind the arguments that Dr Derek Sikua should pay compensation for the wrongs of the British colonial administrators in 1927.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Harrison Kabolo and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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